Update 03/08/22: Bernard Chong shared a statement, via Twitter, and the article was updated to include the quote. Moreover, the NBI has responded to Esports Insider’s query, saying that the appropriate service branch of the organisation will provide an official statement soon. The article was updated to reflect this.
Bernard ‘Bren’ Chong, the CEO of Philippine esports organisation Bren Esports, is reportedly a target of a manhunt in his home country over drug charges.
According to local media, Chong is wanted for the “import of illegal drugs”. Chong is wanted, along with around a dozen other people, for his connection to a drug smuggling operation that took place in 2019, when authorities confiscated more than 270 kilograms of methamphetamines at the Manilla International Container Port.
Esports Insider has reached out to Philippines’ NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) regarding the news, and the NBI announced that an official statement will follow soon.
Local media website Bilyonaryo detailed that the warrant for Chong’s arrest was issued on July 2nd, 2021. His legal team appealed, but the appeal was denied on April 29th, presumably this year. Since Chong failed to appear before the authorities, the NBI issued a manhunt operation to locate and apprehend the Bren Esports CEO.
He is wanted because of his ties to Fortuneyield Cargo Services Corporation, the company whose name was found on the shipment containing the illegal substances in 2019. According to the Phillippine Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau, Chong was the President and General Manager of the company. The NBI saw this connection as ‘probable cause’.
Shortly after the news was made public, Bernard Chong, CEO of Bren Esports, shared the following via Twitter: “Throughout the last few hours, there have been several news articles written about my alleged involvement in a case in my home country, the Philippines. I’m writing this to categorically deny these claims that may destroy the good name I have taken care of for so many years.
“I believe in the justice system that protects the innocent, and the truth will always prevail. I hope this clarifies any doubts you have and thank you for your support during these trying times.”
Being a large-scale port, Manilla sees a large number of drug-related crimes and is often the place many drug types, but mostly methamphetamines, or shabu, as they’re called locally. Former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte imposed drastic laws against drug use and sales in 2016, but the methods of reducing drug use were widely criticised.
Chong is most-known for being the CEO and founder of Bren Esports, one of Southeast Asia’s most successful esports organisations. The company fields rosters in a large number of titles including CS:GO, Tekken, Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Clash Royale and others. The organisation’s crowning moment was winning of the M2 World Championship in Mobile Legends: Bang Bang back in 2021.
Apart from being a founder of an esports organisation, Chong is also behind Lyka, a controversial social media platform in the Philippines, and is the owner of the Phillippine franchise of fast food chain Tim Hortons.
The story is still developing and will be updated if more information becomes available.